46 Days and Lots of Bustouts

8.15.09 Merriweather (J.Arthur)

8.15.09 Merriweather (J.Arthur)

A night after playing a second set of virtually all improv in Hartford, Phish played their second to last show of summer centered around only one adventurous jam.  The entire show was popping with energy from note one, strewn with spirited and precise playing throughout.  The band played a great show from start to finish, but in the end, Merriweather will be remembered for its array of bust-outs rather than open-ended adventure.  The first set saw the band drop seven songs they hadn’t played this tour including the promising debut of “Party Time,” but the second second set featured only one blowout jam.  Following Hartford with a show of a completely different vibe, Phish played their last Saturday night of the summer.

Darien Lake (B.Ferguson)

Darien Lake (B.Ferguson)

As the band stepped onstage following an enticing first set, they deciding to open the second set with “Tweezer.”  In a tour that has featured memorable jams out of almost every second-set opener, and a long summer that has showcased the song, we had the recipe for an epic throwdown.  We were finally in for the “Tweezer” we had all been waiting for- the last “Tweezer” of summer would no doubt be a creative highlight of the season.  In a tour that opened with Fenway’s distant highlight, it was only proper to end the summer with a massive psychedelic exploration of the vehicle.  But Phish played a dud.  Where most every second set opener has had several pieces of original improv, this “Tweezer” had zero.  Sounding like they were merely going through the motions, the band loafed through a version that was completely forgettable.  Before it peaked- or even got going- the jam fizzled into “Taste,” creating an ’09 version of their classic combo.  But this time “Taste” far outshone the “Tweezer.”  Launching into a soaring and creative version, it was as if Phish had somehow refueled their tank onstage- a bizarre beginning to the set, no doubt.

Hartford (A.Mccollugh)

Hartford (A.Mccollugh)

After a slight lull with “Alaska”- a song that has no business in the second set- and “Let Me Lie”- a ballad that seemed to come at a time where none was needed, Phish entered, by far, the most engaging segment of the evening with “46 Days > Oh! Sweet Nuthin’, Harry Hood.”  Taking “46 Days” off the shelf for the first time since Bonnaroo, the band launched the blues-rock composition into the stratosphere, birthing a multi-faceted psychedelic opus .  Letting things hang out for the only time in the show, Phish oozed outside of the composition, into a jam that left the crowd in awe- something Phish is, once again, doing nightly.  Beginning with some lighter funk and moving into a growling ambient groove, the jam quickly progressed into a heavier abstract psychedelia.  The band laced up their musical adventure boots and went to play.  Amidst a soft melodic ambient canvas, Fishman kicked a dance beat and the band was off and running into a second half of the jam that was pure hose.  Trey was absolutely killing the fast-paced jams with melodic lines that tugged on your heart mightily.  The band took a big musical risk  with this jam, and while the entire thing didn’t flow flawlessly, the payoff was pure Phish glory.  The clear highlight of the evening gradually slowed down as Page rolled into the opening notes of the tour’s second “Oh! Sweet Nuthin.”

Hartford (A.Mccollugh)

Hartford (A.Mccollugh)

Once again, completely owning the cover, the band used the ballad as an emotive breath of air before the summer’s final version of “Harry Hood” rolled off the stage.  A song that has shined all summer since it’s opening incarnation at Jones Beach, Phish took one last swing at their revitalized classic.  Another creative masterpiece, the full-band interplay of the jam was typical of the band’s many awing renditions of the tour, and provided a fitting end to the chapter of Summer ’09 “Harry Hoods.”

Well, we have wound our way to the end of the road.  That elusive SPAC show that never seemed like it would come is today.  Set up to annihilate their final show in one of their favorite venues, tonight will surely be one to remember.  Final shows of tours have taken on an iconic status in Phish history, and the end of such a magical road coupled the band’s first visit to SPAC since the their final flashes of brilliance in 2004, tonight should be something special.


Hartford (A.Mccollugh)

Hartford (A.Mccollugh)

First Set Notes: The band came out of the gates, on the heels of Hartford’s epic night, with all sorts of energy.  Starting with the “Crowd Control” opener, Phish threw down seven songs not played this summer, including the debut of “Party Time”- one of the definite highlights of the show.  Written by Fishman, the polyrhythmic song that reminded me a Phishy take on a sort-of New Orleans funk riff.  Sure to be a huge part of fall tour, it was great to see the band begin to bring out their non-album new songs.  Look for a big “Party Time” to kick off Indio just a bit down the road.  Other notable well-played bust-outs were “The Sloth,” “Foam” and “Axilla.”  The set also featured a free-flowing version “Beauty of a Broken Heart” which is going to turn into some retro-Phish disco jams at some point soon.  Once again, the longest individual piece in the entire show was the set closing “Time Turns Elastic.”  Clocking in at just under 17 minutes, the song worked decently as a set closer, but at some point the piece just seems over-indulgent to continue playing in regular rotation.

I: Crowd Control, Kill Devil Falls, The Sloth, Beauty Of A Broken Heart, Axilla I, Foam, Esther, Ha Ha Ha, Party Time, Tube, Stealing Time From The Faulty Plan, Strange Design, Time Turns Elastic

II: Tweezer > Taste, Alaska, Let Me Lie, 46 Days > Oh! Sweet Nuthin’, Harry Hood

E: Good Times, Bad Times, Tweezer Reprise

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937 Responses to “46 Days and Lots of Bustouts”

  1. Lycanthropist Says:

    @ Mr. C –

    very well said, and as a Psychology Major, I do understand the unseen factors that can sometimes lie in an addiction.

    I guess its just tough for me because, if you are truly an artist, musician whatever, I feel like that your art can and should be your “family” or “coping mechanism”.

    I understand that there are often circumstances that can’t be helped. Trust me, I was the last one in my band to lose my faith in our resident addict. I gave him more chances than ever, perhaps this has to do with my bitterness.

    I just think that TOO many people use genetics as an excuse for addiction.

    @ albert –

    difference of opinion is always welcomed by me. But you are suggesting that I am “talking up bad bands”. You are blanketing my opinion with a pseudo-fact. You can’t simply state that Blind Melon or Pearl Jam are bad bands. Its too objective of a thing to say.

    Now, I have no desire to start a flame war with you and I appreciate that you don’t either. But I have a pretty good and expansive taste in music (in my OPINION). I respect if you dislike Blind Melon, thats fine. But you can’t say that they are a BAD band or that I am wrong for giving them props.

    Fair enough?

  2. tubeopener Says:

    Soup and Nico are incredible albums. I think Blind Melon is a very underrated band. I used to hate them until I listened to those two albums all the way through. Most people just mention the “bee” video and haven’t taken the time to listen to their music. By the way the “velvet underground” version of No Rain is the shit. And the song Soup is fantastic. If they were still around they would be in the jam/festival scene for sure. I am always trying to get people to take Blind Melon seriously. And I really haven’t met many Phish fans who don’t love Radiohead so that is kind of a surprise. Radiohead is great and I see and hear influence from them in some of Trey’s playing. I know he likes them. So if you haven’t taken the time to listen to Blind Melon for real, I recommend it.

    Also, I’ve always HATED Fleetwood Mac, but today’s discussion is making me want to check out some of the original material same way it happened to me with Blind Melon. Even Pink Floyd has a bunch of early material that is KILLER that most people who say they are Floyd fans have never heard of, i.e. Zabriskie Point, More, and Obscured by Clouds. Three albums that have some of the best Floyd material there is and many people don’t take the time to listen because it wasn’t popular.

  3. Marshall Says:

    It’s interesting what meaning a word can take on. When I say the word “Phish” it doesn’t “sound” anything like the word “fish” to me, even though to the ignorant, it would sound exactly the same.

    I guess that’s connotation, in all its essence.

  4. Mugician Says:

    Damn… who *was* that? I’m not down with those “campgrounds”. Goddamn I love this Mike’s.

  5. R1 Says:

    Phish is just named after Fishman. Plain and simple.

  6. voopa Says:

    Blind Melon has some pretty fierce jams.

  7. Mugician Says:

    Yep. Thought so.

  8. Mugician Says:

    NYE ’95, best Mike’s Groove ever…

  9. BrandonKayda Says:

    Who ever mentioned Lettuce….I guy I know burnt me a cd of theirs, pretty cool stuff. Very funky.

  10. albert walker Says:

    wow this is the most conversation Blind Melon has brought out since that cat died

  11. SJC Says:

    and the PH was a bite on the Beatles.

  12. Lycanthropist Says:

    @ tubeopener –
    phew, i was beginning to think I was alone in this sea. Ha ha.
    It sounds like we are in the exact same mindset.

    I was really so surprised when I got burned on Radiohead and Blind Melon. I would have bet quite a bit of money on Phish fans enjoying these two bands.

    I agree that Blind Melon often gets pigeonholed for the Bee Video.

    But Letters From a Porcupine is one of the better music docs I have seen.

  13. Pence Says:

    Anyone want to say anything about I been Around? I heard someone mention it earlier, any good?

  14. albert walker Says:

    I’m out until fall tour

    need to take a break from bad music talk
    I simply cannot believe people like blind melon
    that makes pearl jam look like can

    if you dont know who can is you need to

  15. tubeopener Says:

    I also thought Shannon Hoon had some of the best vocals of the 90’s. He just has a very natural quality to it that you can really hear on Nico, which he recorded most of with a little 4-track in his bathroom. To say that Blind Melon was not talented makes me think that the person saying that either has not listened to the material or is confusing his personal taste in music with what it takes to be a good musician. There is a lot of R&B that I hate and think is just overproduced pop crap, but that doesn’t mean the artists are not talented.

  16. Stun the Puppy Says:

    Not sure if this has been discussed…but what about taking a look at songs not played at all during the 2nd summer leg. Here’s what I have as very surprising:
    1. Lizards
    2. Frankenstein
    3. Sand
    4. Scent of a Mule
    4. Twist
    6. Bug

    As far as played only once in the 2nd leg:
    1. 46 Days
    2. Back on the Train
    3. Birds of a Feather
    4. It’s Ice
    5. Llama
    6. Maze
    7. Reba
    8. Runaway Jim
    9. Split Open & Melt

    Any other thoughts?

  17. albert walker Says:

    thank you mr. miner

  18. tubeopener Says:

    you all type too fast.

  19. Pence Says:

    @Marshall, you say phish differently then you say fish?

  20. Marshall Says:

    As to origins, I have to mention that the first person that ever mentioned Phish to me (guy that lived on my hall I was referring to earlier) died a few years ago in a car crash. He was one of my best friends and one that, as we all get older, can’t every really be replaced by someone new. I was supposed to spend the summer of 1993 with him in Colorado but my mom died right before we were supposed to go. He went anyway. I forgot which town he lived it, but he camped the whole summer (in one location), washed dishes at a restaurant, and picked up his mail at the post office where they would call out people’s names each day. (Where’s this all going you ask … well, here it comes). Guess who also camped nearby for a couple of days and hung out with my friend for a couple of days … Jon Fishman.

  21. Marshall Says:

    @ Pence – no. I “hear” it differently.

  22. Jahvolunteer Says:

    Might be a little late to the conversation, but Mr. C needs to see Radiohead in concert. I don’t care if they are mentioned in the same sentence as Pink Floyd or not, they are the band for these times. It doesn’t matter if you like them or not, Radiohead exist as one of the best band in a great tradition of British bands. . Frankly Pink Floyd is tired and cliche. Sure I listened to it in high school and I think Meddle, Dark Side and WYWH are great. The Wall is one of the most self-indulgent pieces of shit recorded and I tire hearing about how great Pink Floyd is.

    Radiohead are brilliant, Thom Yorke has a beautiful voice and they bring it live. Compared to our band Phish, who is really only popular in the states, Radiohead has a global following. Sorry Mr. C that you are late to the party, but maybe you need to do some more listening.

  23. Mr. Completely Says:

    please let albert be albert

    he’s one of my favorite people here

    i have had musical battles with him too, he is a man of strong opinions and speaks his mind. I value that.

    I have had lots of friends who are into blind melon, mostly grew up in the midwest in the 90s. I have heard those albums and neither thought they sucked or were super great….I know Robert Hunter liked them, he befriended the singer in that last year….

  24. BrandonKayda Says:

    From what I have heard from Blind Melon, I don’t like them.

  25. tubeopener Says:

    @ Lycan – Yeah my roommate at University of Richmond was huge Melon fan and I gave him tons of shit for it until one day he was like “have you ever listened to any of it?” To which I had to say no, so he twirled up a cone and I sat there for an hour stuffing my foot in my mouth for ever talking shit. I felt very stupid for talking about something I didn’t know about. I wish he didn’t die. Thanks for mentioning that documentary, I’ve never seen it. I’ll have to check that one out along with the Janes Addiction documentary that I’ve never seen.

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